Kansas News

Heartland Men’s Chorus welcomes new artistic director

By Ciara Reid, staff reporter

DustinCatesKANSAS CITY - The Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC) has announced Dustin Cates as its new artistic director. A life-long Kansas Citian, Cates says he has always enjoyed attending HMC performances and appreciates their impact on the community.

    A search committee that included chorus members, past board chairs, community arts leaders, donors and chorus staff conducted an extensive nationwide search to fill the position. Cates is thrilled to become the next artistic director of HMC. “If you would have asked me a year ago if I would be doing anything but teaching high school choral music I would have told you that you were nuts,” he says. “Second only to my husband and our little boy, teaching high school choir was my life’s greatest joy. The opportunity I had to impact the lives of the students that sat in my classroom every day was a reward like none other.”


Same-Sex marriage in Kansas

Equality-Kansas-logoProvided By Equality Kansas

post-press updates are ongoing
and are also available at Equality Kansas

 As of press time, there are currently 25 counties in 12 judicial districts that are issuing marriage licenses in Kansas. They are: Brown, Chase, Cherokee, Clay, Cloud, Cowley, Crawford, Doniphan, Douglas, Harvey, Jewell, Johnson, Labette, Lincoln, Lyon, Marshall, McPherson, Mitchell, Nemaha, Republic, Riley, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Washington, Wyandotte.

    There are currently NO state agencies that are recognizing any same-sex marriage, whether performed in Kansas or out-of-state. This means there will continue to be problems adding spouses to insurance, changing names on drivers’ licenses, and so on.

    This is despite the fact that, last week, Attorney General Derek Schmidt admitted on the record to the Associated Press that these marriages are “legal.”

    The ACLU is working with Equality Kansas members and leadership to prepare an amendment to the original federal lawsuit in front of Judge Crabtree. The amended complaint is expected to be filed before Thanksgiving. For information as it becomes available, check kansasequalitycoalition.org 


- Any information on marriages being performed outside the counties listed above.


The Center celebrates one year in new location

By Nolin Christensen
TheCenter-logoWICHITA - December 2014 marks the month that Wichita’s LGBT center celebrates one year in its new location at 800 N. Market (corner of Market and Murdock). Lots of work went into getting the space ready for the community to use.

    Along with being a meeting place for many of the local LGBT groups and social clubs, The Center also has several programs and services for the community.

    The first program, Get Connected, an LGBTQIA youth group, is now three years old. Any youth ages 12-18 who are looking for a safe place to hang out and just be themselves, The Center is the place. The youth group meets every Friday from 6-9pm. Parental knowledge is required.

    Another program, the Wichita LGBT Health Coalition, continues to grow and add more healthcare providers and services to its directory. More information is available at www.wichitalgbthealth.org.


ODAAT LBGT AA group reads new book Sober and Out

By Jeanne de Grasse

SoberOutWICHITA - In February 2011, an amazing thing happened. Like so many other amazing things that happen, it happened to a huge, but specific group of people. In February 2011, this huge but specific group of people held in their hands the issue of AA Grapevine magazine that featured a big rainbow flag on the cover and the words “Sober and Out!” LBGT members were not just being mentioned in the magazine, but featured and brought to the fore. This was a milestone that one local Alcoholics Anonymous member vividly recalls.

    “It WAS amazing!” he said, “EVERYONE who was a subscribing member got that issue, not just some, not just LGBT members. It was huge.” It was also the impetus for the new book by AA Grapevine, Sober and Out, which the ODAAT (One Day At A Time) LBGT AA group in Wichita will be reading and discussing together at their Thursday meetings.  


Holiday Info

Wichita Men’s Chorus toasts the holidays

Cheers-sWICHITA - Heart of America Men’s Chorus proudly presents CHEERS! A Toast to the Holidays, Saturday, Dec. 13 at 7pm and Sunday, Dec. 14 at 4:30pm at DeMattias Performance Hall on the Newman University campus (see map image).

    The 13th Annual Holiday Concert will feature favorites from the HOAMC songbook along with new holiday music concertgoers will surely enjoy.

    The Chorus has invited some young men from Newman University and area high school choral programs to join in and participate in the merriment and music of the holiday season. As in years past, everyone is invited to bring new or gently-used coats, gloves, hats and scarves for a Warm Clothing Drive, which will benefit Inter-Faith Ministries’ Operation Holiday assistance program.

    Tickets are available by calling (316) 708-4837 and are priced at $15 with $5 student discount tickets available.


Liberty Press’ Gay Gift Guide

Artsy Gift Baskets

01-Dec-14 97Big Bottom Market offers unique artisanal gift boxes packed with amazing products from CC Made, Flying Goat Coffee, Further, Inna Shrub, Mendocino Mustard and locally made jams. Gift boxes may also be customized.

    LP’s local reviewer found the preserves to be bursting with fruit flavor and natural sweetness and the mustard sweet with just enough kick – like a Chinese mustard without the pain. www.bigbottommarket.com.


First Comes Love

01-Dec-14 93First Comes Love: Portraits of Enduring LGBTQ Relationships (Soleil Press) by award-winning photographer Barbara Proud. Portraits and love stories of 65 long-term LGBTQ couples, together 10–59 years. Endorsed by Freedom to Marry and HRC. Foreword by Edie Windsor.






Boots01-Dec-14 91

The new Boots No7 Men Hydrating Shave Kit is now available for $20 at Walgreens and Walgreens.com. The kit includes the Boots No7 Men Anti-friction Shave Gel, Boots No7 Men Post Shave Recovery Balm, Boots No7 Men Energizing Face Wash and an exclusive Boots 3 Blade Razor.



Love is Love

01-Dec-14 95Founded by gay couple Sam Street and Jonathan Tack, Proposition Love Jewelry features a Love is Love Collection - a stunning assortment of rings, pendants, bracelets and earrings, available in both silver and gold. Priced from $48-$1,495.

    The entire collection is available online at www.propositionlove.com.

    SPECIAL: Liberty Press readers can take advantage of specials when ordering directly through www.propositionlove.com and using promo code: Love Is Love for 25 percent off and free shipping!


Cher Christmas!

01-Dec-14 96How do adults know when something is for boys and when it’s for girls? Last year 8-year-old Luca wanted a Barbie Magic Hair since he wants to be hair stylist so he wrote a letter to Santa. What he got instead was . . . a bicycle! A mistake that big - well, Luca can’t run the risk this year with the white ice skates he wants. He’s seen Cher on TV – and he definitely “believes.” So he writes to her instead!

    Cher Upon a Midnight Clear by Matteo Bianchi ($8, Fourcats Press), is a sweet, charming story for all those who wish there had been a little more gender flexibility in their own childhoods.




Local Stories

Fresh and local: Cow & Sow Deli

By Grayson Barnes

CowSowDeliWICHITA - Tracey Coln, owner of the Cow & Sow Deli at 612 E. Douglas in downtown Wichita, pushed away the hand I had prepped for a shake and wrapped me in a big hug. I already knew she was a “honey” and “sweetie” kind of gal from talking to her on the phone, but she didn’t warn me about this! I needed a hug or two anyway, which I certainly got, along with a great vegan lunch.

    Coln’s warmth is certainly the drive behind her business, which celebrated its first year this November. She chatted amiably while I sampled quinoa, pickled baby squash, copper pennies (a type of carrot and vinegar salad), and hummus on pita (with hydroponic kale). Every once in a while she’d get up and bring me back something else to try (lavender lemonade, homemade applesauce, ginger beer).

    Pretty much everything at the deli is homemade and seasonal, which are some of Coln’s overarching ethics. In addition, she wanted to focus on local foods and businesses, and provide a few grocery items for people who live in the area. She has a stock of eggs, bread, butter, and a few household items on the shelves for such cases.  


Will You?

Gay-Rom-ComBy Greg Boaldin

The Making of a Gay Rom Com in Kansas

About a year ago, I was ending a night with friends when the topic of queer cinema came up. The discussion centered around how it seems that every film with gay themes is either a coming of age film, soft-core porn, or heavy and sad. It was asked, “Why can’t there be a film about us and the funny things that happen in our lives?” My response was, “There can be, and we can make it.”

    I’d been writing for a sketch comedy troupe, and before that doing some “stand-up” comedy at the Loony Bin in Wichita. Those experiences led me to write a couple of TV pilots, but I set all of that aside to write Will You Take This Man.

    Two months later, I had a completed script and started sharing it with friends of mine in the film industry. The response was very positive and the team for the film’s production started to materialize almost magically.

    Will You Take This Man is a romantic comedy very loosely based on stories and situations from my life and the lives of some of my friends. It centers on a fictional interracial couple, Martin and Antoine.


Matson named dean of Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

RonMatsonWICHITA - Ron Matson, who has served as interim dean for the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wichita State University since July 2012, was named dean of the college by Tony Vizzini, WSU provost and senior vice president.

    Matson,  longtime chairman of the Department of Sociology, was named interim dean when Bill Bischoff stepped down. At that time, Matson was selected from a pool of candidates reviewed by the LAS College Council.

    The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education named Matson the 2011 Kansas Professor of the Year.

    Matson received his Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from the University of South Dakota. He attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, for his Master of Arts and doctoral degrees in sociology.


‘I do not live with HIV, HIV is living with me’

By Brian Hansen

MartinWilsonWICHITA - Only 15 minutes is required for an individual to know his or her HIV status, and for some, this can be the longest 15 minutes of their life. For a young man or woman, hearing the news of a positive status can be terrifying. Martin Wilson, Prevention Coordinator at Positive Directions, Inc. (PDI), knows this feeling all too well. Even with the advancement in modern medicine, many think an HIV-positive status is the end of the road. Wilson is a living testimony of the contrary – it is the beginning of a long journey.

    What was once known as “gay cancer,” over one million Americans are currently living with HIV. While AIDS has become less taboo in modern days, an estimated one in six of these Americans are unaware of their status.

    Eleven years ago, Martin Wilson was a young man waiting to hear the results of his HIV test. At the time his knowledge of HIV and AIDS was almost non-existent.

    “I had friends who were positive, and I was also one of those people who would push away,” he says. “I didn’t want to believe that someone close to me had [HIV] in fear of losing them.”


National News

Lambda Legal Hails Senate Confirmation of First Openly Gay Judge to Federal Bench in Texas

Robert-Pitman“We celebrate the confirmation of Judge Pitman, which brings welcome diversity to the federal bench in Texas while simultaneously filling a seat that has been vacant for more than six years.”

(New York, December 16, 2014) – The U.S. Senate tonight confirmed Robert Pitman to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. Pitman becomes the first openly gay judge to sit on the federal bench in Texas, and also assumes a seat that had been vacant for more than six years. Lambda Legal Fair Courts Project Manager Eric Lesh released the following statement:

“For the judicial system in the United States to be truly fair, it must reflect the tremendous diversity of the country. President Obama has made great strides in promoting and ensuring that diversity with his nominations of people of color and of openly gay and lesbian individuals to the federal bench. We celebrate the confirmation of Judge Pitman, which brings welcome diversity to the federal bench in Texas while simultaneously filling a seat that had been vacant for more than six years.


Busy day for registrars as first same-sex marriages take place in Scotland

17-Dec-14 37Dozens of couples across Scotland convert their civil partnerships to marriage on the first day of new law, while dozens more give notice to marry Equality campaigners say high demand is evidence of the new law’s importance and success

Scotland’s historic equal marriage legislation has been hailed as a success after dozens of couples across the country, and abroad, sought to marry on the first day of the new law.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 came into effect at midnight on Tuesday 16 December meaning that same-sex couples could give notice to marry, while those in Scottish civil partnerships were able to convert it to marriage from midnight.


New York to Require Insurers to Cover Transgender Healthcare; Lambda Legal Applauds

gayhealth"This is life-saving news for transgender New Yorkers. New York is the tenth jurisdiction to require transgender medical services.”

(New York, December 11, 2014) - Today, with the announcement that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued guidance to health insurance companies that they are barred from discriminating against transgender individuals by denying them medically necessary treatment, Lambda Legal released the following statement by Dru Levasseur, Transgender Rights Project Director:

"What a week for transgender New Yorkers! Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and his administration sent a letter to private insurers in the state that they cannot discriminate against transgender policyholders and that they are required to provide coverage of medically necessary health care for transgender people under New York state law. This news comes just days after the New York City Council passed a bill that made it easier for transgender New Yorkers to correct the sex designation on their birth certificates to reflect who they are.


Lambda Legal Applauds New York City Law to Ease Birth Certificate Changes for Transgender People

rainbow-eyelash"New York City becomes the eighth jurisdiction to eliminate surgery requirements... significant news for many New Yorkers whose lack of matching identification documents put them at considerable risk.”

(New York, December 8, 2014) — Today, with the announcement that the New York City Council passed a bill that eliminates the surgery requirement for transgender people seeking to change the sex designation on their birth certificates, Lambda Legal released the following statement by Dru Levasseur, Transgender Rights Project Director:

"We applaud the New York City Council for taking the necessary steps to make it easier for transgender New Yorkers to correct the sex designation on their birth certificates to reflect who they are, and we are grateful to Councilmember Corey Johnson for his leadership on this legislation.


Liberty Press December 2014



The Devil's Tail

Jack Daniels - Drink Responsibly

Marcia McCoy, Ph.D.